1911) Remembering What You Want

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When You Don’t Feel Like It, Take Heart by Jon Bloom, posted November 11, 2009 at:  http://www.desiringgod.org

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     Did you wake up not feeling like reading your Bible and praying?  How many times today have you had to battle not feeling like doing things you know would be good for you?

     While it’s true that this is our indwelling sin that we must repent of and fight against, there’s more going on.

     Think about this strange pattern that occurs over and over in just about every area of life:

  • Good food requires discipline to prepare and eat, while junk food tends to be the most tasty, addictive, and convenient.
  • Keeping the body healthy and strong requires frequent deliberate discomfort, while it only takes constant comfort to go to pot.
  • You have to make yourself pick up that nourishing spiritual book, while watching a movie can feel so inviting.
  • You frequently have to force yourself to get to devotions and prayer, while sleeping, reading the sports, and checking Facebook seems effortless.
  • To play beautiful music requires thousands of hours of tedious practice.
  • To excel in sports requires monotonous drills ad nauseum.
  • It takes years and years of schooling just to make certain opportunities possible.
  • This goes on and on.

     The pattern is this: the greater joys are obtained through struggle and pain, while brief, unsatisfying, and often destructive joys are right at our fingertips. 

     Why is this?

     Because, in great mercy, God is showing us everywhere, in things that are just shadows of heavenly things, that there is a great reward for those who struggle through (Hebrews 10:32-35).  He is reminding us repeatedly each day to “walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).

     Each struggle is an invitation by God to follow in the footsteps of his Son, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

     Those who are spiritually blind only see futility in these things.  But for those who have eyes to see, God has woven hope (faith in His future grace) right into the futility of creation (Romans 8:20-21).  Each struggle is a pointer saying, “Look!  Look to the real Joy set before you!”

     So when you don’t feel like doing what you know is best for you, take heart and don’t give in.  Your Father is pointing you to the reward he has planned for all who endure to the end (Matthew 24:13).

II Corinthians 4:17-18  —  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

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Discipline is remembering what you want most, not what you want now.

–Billy Blanks  (1955- )  Martial Arts Instructor

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Hebrews 10:32-35  —  Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering.  Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated.  You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.  So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.

Hebrews 12:1-3  —  Therefore, … let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Romans 8:20-21  —  For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

Matthew 24:12-13  —  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

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Almighty and everlasting God, increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain what you promise, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever.  Amen.  

Book of Common Prayer